Last week, the number of subscribers to this blog's RSS feed passed the 2,000 mark, after teetering just below that number for a couple of months. It's very gratifying to know that so many people enjoy my writing, and although this increase in subscriptions is tiny compared to the total number of subscribers, it somehow feels like leaping over a high hurdle.
Perhaps you haven't subscribed to my feed because you think you'll have to pay. Actually, it's completely free, as are all other feeds. Or maybe it's because you're unfamiliar with RSS. If so, here's a very short primer on this very useful technology.
RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication, and it does what it says on the tin. It can be used to aggregate content from different sources into one place. If you read dozens of blogs or more, RSS will save you a lot of time and effort. Most other websites use RSS too, so you can subscribe to those too.
RSS is very easy to use. First, you'll need to set up a feedreader account. I'd recommend either Google Reader or Bloglines. Then you can begin subscribing to your favourite blogs and sites. RSS is referred to as "pull" technology, because it scans the sites to which you are subscribed and pulls the new content from them, in the form of a data stream or "feed", into your account.
Subscribing involves clicking on the RSS button, the orange logo that is displayed ubiquitously across the web, or on the text that says something like "Subscribe to my RSS feed". Both of those actions will take you to a page on which you first select and then log in to your feedreader. You then confirm that you want to subscribe to that particular feed.
In your feedreader you can organize your subscriptions into categories. Most give you the option to view the content from a single site, a category or from all your subscriptions together. The content itself can also be organized by date, so that the oldest or newest entries appear first.
I subscribe to the firehose, the Sb Combined Feed. Hope that's included in your count.
Long time reader, first comment though. Great blog btw. I have never bothered to use the RSS feed for this, and most blogs because unless they update incredibly fast a bookmark will suffice. That being said if it helps prove readership somehow I'll go ahead and switch over to an RSS bookmark right now.
The reason I don't subscribe to this feed is because I'm interested in Neuroscience, not in adolescent Myspace style self-congratulatory horn-tooting every 6-8 weeks.
Neuroscience, yes. We love the content. Teenagery chit-chat and social networking? Not so much. I suppose if you are only concerned about how stats affect your PPC ranking, then by all means.
Cletus: I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're getting at, but I have a good idea. If my "adolescent Myspace style self-congratulatory horn-tooting, teenagery chit-chat and social networking" outweighed my neuroscience posts, then you might have a point. But it doesn't, so you don't. Who is this "we" that you refer to? Did it ever occur to you that others might be interested in some of the science-related things I do, and in seeing some of my photographs? It seems not.
I have no idea what a PPC ranking is. I'm not concered with my blog's statistics, but it is gratifying to see my readership grow. All I'm concerned about is writing good quality material on neuroscience, and I believe that I do just that the vast majority of the time.
So you won't be subscribing to my feed then - it's no big deal. Next time, please save your ranting.
I've read your blog for a few months and it has rapidly become my favourite by all means. I truly admire and learn from your neuroscience posts, your photographs and others, and am glad blogs do not exclusively adhere to one topic.
Anyway, I'm not a big fan of RSS, but I do receive e-mail updates every time you post something new on your blog, so I guess you could add those numbers to your subscribing readership :).
As Cletus have said, I do indulge in checking with the stats. I like to see as viewers from diverse countries visit my site. They are far less than yours but mere viewing of it is gratifying to me. I also write far fewer posts as compared to yours. I am a great admirer of your posts and check your site quite often. In fact, your site figures among very few of the blog links that I have on my site.
The great appeal of a blog as opposed to a technical site, is the individual personality of the blogger. Blogs are communities of like minded individuals, there is interaction and on some level relationships are formed. And as is typical in normal human relationships we tend to be interested in much more than 'just the facts'. Let's face it when you are discussing concepts or studies with a colleague, more than facts are involved. It's the extra information we share that gives us a shared knowledge, and allows us to connect. When a blogger shares family photos, jokes or interesting whimsical links, they are being human, appealing and interesting. If I wanted just the facts, I'd simply go to the literature. I visit blogs for the whole experience. This blog has a great mix of neuroscience, personal perspective and human interest. I think perhaps Cletus might have some personality issues to resolve.
Ah Brainmap! You hit the nail right on the proverbial head.
Bloggers, for the most part,(including me, in the past), find themselves addicted to traffic like it were technological Crack Cocaine. Furthermore, Bloggers pander and suck-face with their readers, trying to keep that Crack fix coming. I was able to kick the habit of trying to please my cyber-peers early on. Very few are immune to this sort of gratification cycle. And no, Mo, I don't believe you when you say you're not concerned with stats. You give yourself away in other posts, in which you report your victories.
And no, Brainmap, I don't have a personality disorder, (which by the way, is Freudian rubbish for the most part). I instead have an aversion to silliness, cliche, and constant self-report of one's "accomplishments". Perhaps as well, I might be lacking the self-esteem and approval neurosis that many in the Blogosphere seem to suffer from.
Carry on, Mo! Keep up the great work. I mean that sincerely.